I've been thinking of laying Erlkönig to rest - and I realized that I wanted to get this hint of A Year and a Day out, out out of my head so it wouldn't bug me anymore.
So here 'tis. Short, dark - and non-con. Not even the illusion of consent, people, so please keep that in mind if you choose to read.
Labyrinth, Sarah, Jareth, et. al. belong to Henson and Lucas, Erlkönig belongs to Schubert and Goethe, Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, I'm not making a red cent, etc. etc. please don't sue me.
Ah, dear Juliet,
Why art thou yet so fair? Shall I believe
That unsubstantial death is amorous;
And that the lean abhorrèd monster keeps
Thee here in dark to be his paramour?
For fear of that I still will stay with thee,
And never from this palace of dim night
Depart again ...
Romeo and Juliet. Act V, Sc. 3
The voice echoes in the hall, unusually loud. Silence has fallen around it.
"Sarah – Sarah –"
Sarah. She whispers the name to herself. Swallows. She begins to shiver; she does not know why.
"Sarah – speak to me, say something – you died, you're dead – oh my God it's you – my girl – my baby girl –"
Sarah – for that is her name, she realizes, shuddering (the name falls into place like a key unlocking a door – a door tangled over with gold and silver vines, shoots, sprigs, flowers) –
Sarah realizes that it is the voice that makes her skin crawl – a shudder makes her entire body prickle with a strange feeling – fear? – as she hears the soft tones come from her right – a cold voice, cold and deep, like a dark lake in winter – unyielding ice rimed over words more unyielding still.
"Hear our will, and obey, mortal. Your life was your gift, and you chose to fling it away –" the cadences are implacable, relentless – "and thus we sentence you to walk the river of your death until such a time as you are cleansed, to drink from the river of forgetfulness and be made new."
A low, strangled cry from the woman kneeling in front of them – at some distance, Sarah sees, squinting. She sees, and blinks again, for the woman looks familiar. Dark, raddled hair; strangely swollen features – wide, staring eyes – staring at her, at –
"Sarah! It's me – it's your mother – Sarah, say something –"
A hiss. "Take her away."
Wait – Sarah wants to say – wait, please wait – but vague forms she cannot see, somehow – wraiths? shadows? – have coiled around the woman's arms and are pulling her towards the dark mouth of – a door? a cave? – in the back of the room – she hears faint wailing from it and a sudden rush of nausea surges up into her throat –
Sarah doubles over in her – chair? throne? – whatever she is sitting upon looks to be carved from a pale stone – she catches a glimpse of sparkling gold fabric draped over her legs, and then black spots begin to swim before her eyes.
"What is it?"
The voice is low, now, and soft. The pressure of a hand between her shoulder blades makes her heart thump, hard, in her chest.
"My love …" A whisper tickles at her ear. Sarah bites back a whimper at the sensation.
A slight puff of breath; his next words are warm. "Is it the baby?"
She turns her head to one side, and looks into a pair of mismatched eyes –
Her stomach lurches, horribly.
It can't be – oh no, oh no – I need to get out of here – I need -
"– I need –"
"What?" Jareth – that's his name, I know that – but now I know that Sarah is my name, and why should that be wrong? – Jareth narrows his eyes – and then he raises one eyebrow – "What is it that you need?"
I need to get out of here –
"I don't –" Sarah's tongue feels oddly thick, in her mouth – "I don't know –"
"Hm." And now a slight smile plays around his lips, and the sight of it somehow makes her want to scream –
Then Jareth turns, from his seated pose in a throne just like hers, and his jaw sets at a regal angle. His voice cuts through the rustle of – is there a crowd? where am I –
"We will withdraw, and take council with our Queen."
A wave of dizziness, much stronger than before, hits her as she sees Jareth rise from his throne, his lean form unfolding as his cloak unfurls and spills darkness over the armrests, over the floor, over her own self –
Sarah cannot see his face as he turns to her. But she feels his hands grip hers – bare hands – he's not wearing gloves – but why should he be wearing gloves? – and then the – room? hall? – shimmers and ripples around her –
Then they are in another room. Much smaller, and much darker – almost pitch black. She can hardly see anything, but she knows that they are alone.
And then the changing air solidifies at her back, and she feels stone dig into her shoulders as Jareth eases her back against the wall and kisses her – as he dodges her startled instinctive defense and slips his tongue into her mouth – hot and slick –
wait – this can't be – this is wrong – why is this wrong wrong so wrong – oh that feels –
Her eyes fly open as he stoops momentarily, not breaking the kiss, and runs his hands behind her knees and digs his fingers beneath her thighs to pull her up against his body – her heart stutters – and up around his body as he presses her against the wall even harder.
"Oh –" her moan rattles in her throat as he tears his mouth from hers and dives to her collarbone –
"You can't leave well enough alone, can you, precious thing?" His voice hisses over her flesh as he grinds his hips into hers. "You lovely, insatiable, delectable thing …" His teeth close on her skin, not breaking it – but they are sharp and she yelps.
A breath of laughter. "Not even when we have our royal dignity to consider. What must they think of us? My love – truly, it is as I told you before ..."
The dark amusement in his voice plucks at her ears. Sarah can only try to listen, panting for breath – and then she realizes that his hands have trailed down her legs and bunched in the hem of her dress – her dress of cloth of gold –
– cloth of gold –
– gülden Gewand –
– Erlkönig –
– Goblin King –
– Jareth –
Jareth claps a hand over her mouth. "Really, dearest ..." He grins into her eyes, his own glittering with desire. "Dear heart, du liebes Kind ... we've only just begun …"
He doesn't realize it – he doesn't see that I've remembered – I've remembered –
Memory blazes through her mind. Erlkönig – und bist du nicht willig, so brauch ich gewalt – Goblin King – say my name, Sarah – Jareth – is it the baby?
"Baby?" Her voice is muffled by his hand; she gasps for air as he moves his fingers to her jaw, and she squeaks again – "the baby?"
His smile turns lascivious, and his eyes – his eyes –
"My lady …" Jareth – oh please no – it really is him and this is not a dream – runs his tongue across his teeth, then licks his upper lip – and then – she chokes back a cry – he slowly trails that same tongue up her neck, over her chin, and only stops at the corner of her mouth – where he whispers, hotly – "I've never heard of a little … exercise ... by proxy ... doing any infant any harm whatsoever ..."
His words register only belatedly, as he sucks her lips into another kiss.
Baby. Queen. How did this – but no, she remembers how – the ravine flashes before her eyes and she cries out, into his mouth – Jareth groans in reply and hikes her dress up her legs – when did this – but no, she remembers when – when she has done this – when they have done this – night after night sparks in her memory like one lit match after another – nights of him kissing her, of her embracing him, and both of them falling down onto a soft bed and her running her hands over his shoulders and pulling at his hair and hooking her heels behind his legs and moaning – yes yes oh don't stop – please don't stop – please, Jareth please –
"Please –" she whispers against his lips.
"Please what?" Jareth rasps.
"Stop –" Sarah chokes. "Jareth, stop – I don't want this – I don't want you –"
He stiffens, and jerks his head away from her. Stares into her eyes.
Sarah stares back. His eyes ... those eyes ... she remembers them from that entire long dark winter's night of torment, and pain – glowing at her with intent, glittering with lust, gleaming with triumph – but then, then she has an entirely new swarm of memories biting her like vicious insects: Jareth gazing into her eyes from across the linked hands of a dance – smiling at her from above the golden rim of a goblet – throwing his head back and gasping, looking up at her beneath lowered lashes from where he lay sprawled underneath her own body on a bed – a bed – their bed – oh no stop stop stop –
She breaks the stare, panting for breath, feeling as though she had locked eyes with a viper – still feeling the memory of his hands clutching her hips and pulling her closer – wait – wait – he was –
Sarah claws at his hands where they grip her tightly. She tries using her nails, hears him snarl –
"Stop that, pretty thing –"
"You stop!" More and more frantic, she twists to try and get purchase against the wall, to try throwing him off – but she can't hit him where it would really hurt, with her knees at his back – and he twines his fingers into her own and presses against her with his entire weight – she cries out in protest and his teeth flash in the dark.
"So we have remembered, have we, Sarah?" Jareth's breath is hot on her face, from so close. "I had wondered whether or not you ever would – and now, it would seem ... you have ..." His lips are at her mouth. "What could have caused it?"
Sarah! It's me – it's your mother – Sarah, say something –
"Mother –" she chokes. "My mother –"
She feels the low beginnings of a laugh vibrate against her breasts, from where his chest touches her. "Ah." Jareth speaks against her lips. "Wasn't it kind of her to join us ... though through no action of my own, precious – you do understand that?" He lingers against her mouth; feathers a kiss over it ...
Her heart is thudding out an irregular rhythm – panic – "She's – dead –" The panic squeezes her stomach. "Dead?"
"Yes, quite dead. Despaired at the horrible death of her young daughter, and jumped to her own demise from a bridge. Such a sad tale ..." Another kiss. "But if you can see her, love, that must mean that you have lost sight of your dear golden fairyland – is it not so?"
A cold draft brushes over Sarah's skin, bare above the bodice of the gown, as Jareth leans his upper body away from hers, to look over her – and she sees his face.
In her memories, he is golden – gold and silver, gilt ivory, dancing with her in a ballroom full of beautiful people – strolling at her side in a perfumed garden by the river's shore – but now his face is stark white, his eyes gleam from beneath the startling shock of his hair, strung through with stars – their glowing light and the darkness of the room casting the contours of his face into blue shadow – just as he had looked on that night – the darkest night of the year –
Sarah feels his hands relax over hers – she waits a beat, then yanks hers away, shoves at him – claws at his eyes –
His snarl rips the air, as he grabs her wrists and slams them against the wall. "You would do well to refrain from that, my lady –"
"I'm not your lady –" she grits out from between her teeth –
Another laugh, gloating. "Oh yes, you are, my lady, on this Lady Day – come to think of it, that could have something to do with your remembering ... But you are my lady, and if you have forgotten, you will have to learn it all over again – won't you, my fickle lady? ..." Jareth kisses her neck; she flinches, and turns her face away. "My fickle one – first willing, then unwilling; first loving, then hating – first yearning for me – yearning and pleading and begging for me –"
Sarah does not want to remember, but she does – she remembers coiling around him, grappling him to her and moaning – please don't stop – please, Jareth please –
Her mouth goes dry.
"Yes ..." Jareth hisses. "Yes – you do remember, don't you? You remember the pleasure I have given you – days of pleasure, nights of pleasure – long nights of beauties untold, and pleasures unnumbered, my dear Sarah – our beautiful games – schöne Spiele spiele ich mit dir –"
His voice lowers into a grating whisper, and he brings her wrists together, holds them with one hand at her head, and trails the other down over her cheek, her neck – over her bodice and down to the fabric of her skirt where it coils around her waist – beneath the cloth of gold, and then his fingers flicker in a pattern over one of her thighs, where it brushes his hip – she feels goosebumps spread from his touch up, down and over her entire body ...
Jareth breathes out a soft laugh, and his fingers dart between her legs.
"Interesting ..." His voice is sly, and Sarah feels her face burn. "Very interesting ... What do you have to say to that, Sarah?"
A pause. Then Jareth shifts, and takes her chin in his fingers – Sarah registers that they slip over her skin and she will not will not think of why they are that slick – and he turns her face towards him.
He catches her eyes with his – and she is mesmerized by their glitter and gleam – she cannot tear hers away ...
"What do you say to this?"
And Jareth traces his fingers over her lips, and then brings them to his own mouth and sucks at them, and then draws her into a kiss – a kiss that tastes –
Sarah groans despite herself, as memory washes over her like a warm and salty wave from the sea – memories of his mouth on her, on her everywhere – she shudders, trembles at his touch, and tightens the clutch of her thighs around his waist before she can think to do otherwise.
He breathes out another laugh into the kiss, then slides his lips away and rests his forehead against hers. "Yes ... old habits die hard, don't they?"
She fights for breath, for words. "Don't –" Sarah gasps, and feels a stinging in her eyes. "Don't do this. Please, Jareth – please let me go –"
His voice is dark. "No."
" – let me go –"
Sarah can hardly hear her own whisper, as the blackness of the room enfolds it.
"No –" Jareth whispers. "My love – my queen – you are here, and you are mine, and I will never let you go ..."
"Shhh ..." His voice coasts over her ear. "There will be no pain ... I promise you ..."
And Sarah feels horror seize her stomach, and her throat, as he reaches down – between them – and as she feels him press against her, and then her mouth sags open and she gasps for air when he slides into her body as easily as flicking his tongue into her ear –
"No, Jareth –"
"Yes, my love – yes –" his voice is throaty – "ich liebe dich - mich reizt deine schöne Gestalt –"
He moves deeper within her, and Sarah grits her teeth, shuddering, and tugs at her wrists. Jareth frees them, and plunges the hand that had held them into her hair. She lets her arms fall to her sides, not caring, not looking at his hair at the side of her face, not whispering into his ear, but staring over his shoulder, into the darkness, as she feels him quicken his pace –
She can hear nothing in the room. Nothing, that is, except the hiss of his breath, the rustle and scrape of her dress against the stone wall at her back – the sounds of him moving in and out of her body –
Sarah feels her gorge rise. I'm going to be sick – she brings a hand up to her mouth and wills herself not to be sick – as sick as she had felt in – the hall? the throne room? - when Jareth had said to her – is it the baby?
– the baby?
Memory hits her hard, like a blow to the head – a dance, herself spinning around and around until she grows dizzy and has to stop, laughing – Jareth smiling at her and then suddenly not smiling as her head swims and the ground shifts beneath her – then her waking up cushioned on a couch, and Jareth holding a cup to her lips and saying what is it? and her reply I think I'm going to have a baby and the look flaring in his eyes as he drops the cup and grabs her hands with his and she nods wildly, and laughs, and throws her arms around him and kisses him with all of her heart –
Her heart pounding, Sarah draws in a deep breath, brings her hands up and digs her fingers into the back of Jareth's neck – she hears him murmur in response – and she places her lips at his ear.
"Sarah –" his voice is thick. "My love ..."
Both of his hands are beneath her thighs, supporting her –
"Jareth ..." Sarah keeps her voice clear, though it catches with his rhythm – "I want you to know ..."
She has to stop for breath, as he moves faster.
"Know what?" he rasps.
And Sarah channels all of her rage, her fear and pain and hatred into her voice as she hisses into his ear. "I'll never forgive you for this."
He jerks his head back, and stares into her eyes, stopping in mid-motion – she feels naked, exposed and pinned by his gaze –
Jareth bares his teeth in a snarl, and pins her to the wall with his body in a rush of movement – so deep – she swallows a cry –
"Say that again, my love –"
Sarah clenches her entire body as tightly as she does her jaw. "I will never, ever forgive you for this."
His eyes glow, embers in the dark, as – and Sarah feels her skin crawl – as he begins to smile, horribly.
Jareth eases out of her – but then plunges back in and she cries out because it hurts –
"Once more, Sarah –" he whispers at her ear. "Say it once more –"
"You bastard –" she pants – "I'll never forgive you for this – never –"
"Oh, I think you will ..."
Her thoughts grind to a halt. "What?" Sarah stumbles over the word, as he scrapes his teeth over her neck.
Jareth own breath is coming harder. "You will forgive me – you will, because I swear –" and she feels his body tense – "I swear to you, you won't remember a thing –"
The sick horror at the back of her throat claws its way up into her mind – she feels him thrust deep within her and and he growls against her ear, like an animal, and his body shudders – she closes her eyes, so she will not look at him unawares. She closes her mind, so that she does not have to accept the feeling of his climax within her – the hard pulse of heat – she hears him snarl her name and she does her best to take her mind away.
When she comes back to herself, she can only stare over his shoulder, into the dark, as Jareth's breath gusts slower, and slower, into her hair; as he nuzzles at her cheek and nips her earlobe. "Forgive me, my love ..."
"No –" she croaks.
"Yes." His voice is inexorable. "Let your forgiveness last all night long ... and in the morning we will both be made new ..."
He kisses along her jaw as he slips free of her body, and lets her slide down against the wall. Sarah's feet touch the ground, and she can hardly keep her footing – her legs feel like water, and they tremble as Jareth brushes his mouth over her own. Her dress tumbles back down, past her knees, her shins –
Hard fingers close over her chin. "Forgive me ..."
Sarah looks into his eyes – she cannot see the icy blue that she remembers, in the dark – but they gleam at her, and she recoils.
Jareth catches her face in his hands before she can twist away. "Forgive me, Sarah ..."
"Never –" she spits.
"Never?" he murmurs. "Alas for my poor heart ..."
Sarah resists the urge to scrub her eyes with the heels of her hands – she swears to herself that she will not weep – she will never give him that power over her ...
She blinks hard, once, twice – then stiffens her back and stares up into his eyes. Pitches her whisper to cut him, to hurt him. "You have no heart."
Jareth stares back at her, his eyes hooded.
He gently touches one finger to her skin, above her bodice, resting on her sternum. "My heart lies here ..." He bends closer. "With you. Within you. You have taken it from me, du liebes Kind – it has found its hearth and home with you ..." His lips twist in a smile. "My heart, your soul – an equable and excellent exchange, yes?"
Mutely, Sarah shakes her head. First slow, then in a fast jerk, as Jareth trails his fingers back and forth, back and forth over the skin of her chest.
Then he stops, and tips his head. His eyes glitter.
"And really ... what is never to me? You will never forgive me, Sarah?"
"Never ..." she whispers.
A shrug, and a smile. "My precious thing ... never matters not, when there is naught to forgive ..."
Jareth stoops slightly to kiss her – and she sees him slip his hand from her, and make a quick gesture – gold and silver light begins to thread around his long, white fingers –
Sarah hears her own voice in a desperate, strangled cry of denial as she shields her face with both hands –
And then he is standing back from her, one eyebrow lifted, his face shining against the golden gleam of the ornate room.
"Indeed, my lady - it was quite wrong of her to approach you thus, at court – but I shall I send along your greetings? I am quite sure she would appreciate the gesture."
Note that "Lady Day" is the traditional name for the vernal equinox (I think), in some circles. My idea for this fic was: Sarah's memory comes back on the spring equinox, midsummer, autumn equinox, and on the 'darkest night of the year' (winter solstice) - a year after Jareth has taken her away into death. She remembers more and more each time. Perhaps on the autumnal equinox, she even pretends that she has remembered nothing, and thus plays a part for roughly three months while thinking of ways to escape. And then at the solstice, she knows she only has a day left - and then -
That's the problem. I have no idea what would come next. One possibility would be another fic: Orfée - punning on the literal "golden fairy" and the female version of Orpheus - and have Sarah somehow get out of the underworld w/ reference to the Orpheus myth ... but ARGH, that's another epic in the making, and I have no idea of how it would work. Blah.
So, that's it, for now, with Erlkönig. Maybe inspiration will strike again, in a year or two.
Other fic possibilities are: Ben's Dream - a one-shot connected with the In a Glass, Darkly-verse, and ...
This is the idea I've been batting around for a while. Tell me if it sounds interesting to you.
As recompense for the amount of crap I've put Sarah through in my two fics, I want to write one in which she kicks complete and utter ass in a setting v. similar to Lord of the Rings. I have the rudimentary outline of a plot, but it will take a lot more research before I'm ready to write ... but ... I wanted to give you a heads up: to watch out for (in maybe a year, or next summer, if I'm still interested by then) - The Purple Testament.
Hopefully w/ not too much purple prose.
Well, that's all for now. Thank you again, very much, to all my reviewers. I greatly appreciate your feedback. Author's notes (as per previous chapter) will be up at my lj, eventually.
Take care, and thanks for reading.
4/26/07 - 9/21/07